Haha (Cyanea lobata)

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Cyanea lobata

ListedMay 15, 1992
FamilyCampanulaceae (Bellflower)
DescriptionSparsely branched shrub with irregularly lobed leaves and a cluster of flowers having greenish white or purplish petals fused into a curved tube.
HabitatSteep stream banks in mesic lowland forests.
ThreatsHabitat destruction by feral animals; competing plant species.


Cyanea lobata, a shrub in the bellflower family (Campanulaceae) that grows to 4.3-7.5 ft (1.3-2.3 m) in height, has few branches and may be smooth or occasionally rough due to small projections on the stems and lower leaf surfaces. The leaves are 12-20 in (30.5-50.8 cm) long and 4-6 in (10.2-15.2 cm) wide, with 12-25 irregular lobes on each side of the leaf. The flowers of C. lobata cluster in groups of five to 12. These flowers have greenish white or purplish petals fused into a curved tube 2.4-2.8 in (6.1-7.1 cm) long and 0.2-0.4 in (0.5-1.0 cm) wide. The yellow berries are spherical.

This species can be relatively long-lived, even though it is a low, soft-wooded shrub. The sole individual of this species known from Lanai was discovered as an adult in 1919 and was still living in 1934.

C. lobata is known to flower from August to February, even in plants as small as 19.7 in (50.0 cm) in height.


This species typically grows on steep stream banks in mesic lowland forests at an elevation of 1,800-3,000 ft (549-914 m). The lowland mesic shrub-land and forest habitats on West Maui and other Hawaiian islands occurs mainly at elevations between 100-5,300 ft (305-1,615 m) in areas topo-graphically unsuitable for agriculture. Annual precipitation ranges from less than 40-150 in (101-381 cm). The diverse substrate ranges from shallow rocky soils on steep slopes to deep soils in gulches and erosional plains.


Historically, C. lobata was known from Lanai and West Maui. C. lobata (formerly C. baldwinii) was known on Lanai from the single plant referenced above. Although Munro collected a number of specimens of this species, all were from a single plant located at approximately 3,000 ft (914.4 m) elevation at the extreme head of Hookio Gulch, only some 400 ft (121.9 m) below the island's summit on Lanaihale. Despite intensive fieldwork on Lanai in search of this species from 1919 to 1934, Munro found no other individuals of this plant. Munro propagated material of the single known individual, outplanting individuals in the mountains of Lanai at Lanai-hale and Waikeakua and in the garden at his residence on Mount Tantalus, Oahu. The original plant and all outplantings of C. baldwini on Lanai had perished within 10 years after Munro's exertions. This species has not been collected since on that island.

Wilhelm Hillebrand collected this species on West Maui in the 1870s, where he found C. lobata to be distributed in the gulches of Kaanapali, Honokahau, Wailuku. No other collections were made on West Maui for more than a century. C. lobata was rediscovered on West Maui in 1982 at 2,000 ft (609.6m) elevation in Waikapu valley on privately owned land. The single known plant of this species was destroyed in 1990 by a landslide triggered by heavy rains. Based on its fairly extensive historical distribution and the lack of adequate surveys due to the inaccessibility of steep slopes in the West Maui mountains, there is a good chance that C. lobata may still be extant.


Habitat degradation caused by the browsing and trampling of wild, feral, and domestic animals is believed to be the primary cause of the decline of this plant. The next most important threat to the species has been invasive alien plants that have outcompeted it for space, light, water, and nutrients. Fire continues to be a serious threat to any individuals that might survive. The fundamental fact of a very limited distribution is itself a serious threat to the survival of C. lobata.

Conservation and Recovery

C. lobata was propagated by Munro in the past, but it is not currently being propagated at any of the collections surveyed by Loyal Mehrhoff.

The best chance for rediscovery of this species is in the mountains of West Maui. Habitat on Lanai is extremely limited. Searches should start in but not be limited to Waikapu valley, where the species was last seen in 1982. The upper Kauaula valley in the western part of West Maui is another area with suitable habitat for this species. The vegetation of steep walls in deep valleys of windward West Maui is largely intact, with little alien plant invasion. There is a very good chance that this species occurs on steep walls of one or more valleys of West Maui, in sites inaccessible by normal means.

West Maui has a number of pig-free reserves that would be good sites for new populations.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N. E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
Telephone: (503) 231-6121

Pacific Islands Ecological Services Field Office
Room 6307, 300 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96850
Phone: 808-541-2749
Fax: 808-541-2756


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 15 May 1992. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Endangered or Threatened Status for 15 Plants from the Island of Maui, Hawaii." Federal Register 57 (95): 20772-20787.

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Haha (Cyanea lobata)

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